Norfolk and Suffolk paraffin wax mystery deepens

The mystery of lumps of paraffin wax washing up on Norfolk and Suffolk shores has taken two new twists it was revealed yesterday.

As previously reported, lumps of harmless paraffin wax have been found on the region's coast, including Southwold, Lowestoft, Sea Palling, Happisburgh, Waxham and Sizewell during the first six months of the year.

And now the mystery has stepped up a gear after there were reports of larger chunks of paraffin wax washing up on several north Norfolk beaches in the past week.

Included in the finds at Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley, Overstrand and East Runton were a fridge freezer sized piece and another lump with a 3ft diameter.

Another development in the mystery has seen investigators looking at chemical tankers carrying paraffin wax as a possible cause.

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When the smaller lumps of paraffin wax started washing up on beaches in the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth areas, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths unit had suspected the substance came from tankers taking part in oil to oil transfers off Lowestoft and Southwold's coastline. But the tanker transfer theory has already been ruled out by the unit, which also says there have been no reports of any lumps being found in Lowestoft and Yarmouth areas in recent weeks.

Lynn Allen, countryside office with Suffolk Coast and Heaths, which covers the area from Kessingland to Felixstowe, said: 'Over the past week they have been reported in East Runton, where one piece of wax was 3ft in diameter, Mundesley, Cromer, Sheringham and Overstrand. One piece was the size of a fridge freezer. We have ruled out any connection with ship to ship oil transfers, but there is a suggestion they may come from chemical shipping.'

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The first reports of lumps of paraffin wax were reported in December by adopt a beach organisers and estuary wardens.

Anyone who discovers paraffin wax can contact Lynn Allen at Suffolk Coast and Heaths on 01394 384948, or email

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